Amazon Instant Video
Amazon has been streaming in Ultra HD since Dec. 2014. Their video service has a growing selection of titles available in Ultra HD to Prime members at no additional charge, and a wider selection of newer, premium movies to rent or purchase. Although it’s not necessary to be a Prime subscriber to view Ultra HD content, the number of titles available to those with $99 Prime memberships well makes up for rental fees. All of the Amazon Studios original series are available at no extra charge, and some series are already in their second seasons. Amazon Ultra HD content can only be accessed through supporting devices including Ultra HD Smart TVs, the Fire TV, and Roku 4 streaming media player. Devices must also support HDCP 2.2 content protection standards in order to play 4K content.
The first service to offer paid streaming 4K services is now committed to filming every new original series or movie it makes in native ultra HD. It offers a wide variety of original series as well as movies and documentaries in 4K.
Netflix has a number of membership tiers but 4K content is only available in its premium tier, at $12.99 per month.
DirecTV customers who own one of the company’s Genie HD DVR drives and a compatible 4K TV have access to a selection of 4K Ultra HD movies that can be downloaded to the Genie on a rental basis. DirecTV launched a 4K satellite in late 2014 as part of plans to launch a massive broadcast 4K transmission service.
With a DirecTV subscription the rental cost of individual titles is $3.99 and $15.99.
FandangoNOW is the only service to offer both streaming and downloading of Ultra HD content, as well as the largest selection of Ultra HD titles currently available on a premium digital video on demand service. FandangoNOW Ultra HD content can be accessed on the Roku 4 and on LG and Samsung UHD and SUHD TVs. Streaming offers immediate access to a wide variety of 4K Ultra HD titles.
Ultraflix is a smart TV app available on select 4K TVs that’s streams 4K content.
It offers its titles for 48 hour rentals, with subscription or purchase options to come.
Content includes movies, concerts, IMAX films and an assortment of sports, nature and travel programming, short films, trailers and Cablelabs 4K demo categories. They also offer moving 4K murals.
Some of their content is free through the Ultraflix app on compatible 4K TVs while other, premium videos cost $9.99 to rent.
YouTube has been offering streaming 4K clips since 2010 and the service is free to use on any PC with a 4K monitor or any web connected 4K TV.
The site is populated with amateur 4K clips submitted by users of all kinds, as well as professional documentary style videos and a 4K video channel with content from Panasonic.
The only downside is the need for a truly fast broadband Internet connection.
4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Players
While Hollywood started offering Ultra HD Blu-ray releases in advance of any players available to consumers, the hardware manufacturers quickly caught up. Players are now available (or soon to be available from Panasonic, Samsung, Sony, and Philips as well as on gaming consoles from Microsoft and Sony.
Sony’s Ultra 4K movie streaming service features 48-hour rentals and free 10-minute previews, allowing customers to experience a sample of any film in 4K resolution before buying. Sony also partnered with Intel, so more than 100 new devices powered by 7th Gen Intel Core will be able to stream Sony’s 4K library. Films are available for purchase, rental and streaming on Ultra including new releases as well as a library of classic films.